'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 11 October 2018

Look What I'm Reading! Robyn Burns

Robyn Burns, Co-ordinator Youth Services (Whitehorse Manningham Libraries)

After more than 30 years, I still find Children’s and Young Adult library services enormously varied and stimulating. Reading makes young people into better human beings, and libraries can literally change and even save lives! The community values are huge, and I love being part of that.

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Tides Between, by Elizabeth Jane Corbett.

Can you tell us in two sentences what the book is about?
The year is 1841, and fifteen year-old Bridie is still dealing with the loss of her father, when her mother and new stepfather decide to set sail from London for a new life in Port Phillip. Bridie clings to a book of much-loved fairy-tales she had often shared with her father, but new friendships, secrets and tragedies lead her to grow up faster than she had planned.

How much did you enjoy/are enjoying this title?
I really enjoyed several aspects of this book: the well-researched backdrop of life on-board the migrant sailing ship, the beautiful use of story-telling, and the interwoven elements of the Welsh language (a key character is Welsh) which added a melodic and sometimes mysterious element to the text.

What made you choose this title? Was it a review, advertising, the cover, the blurb, the author/illustrator, or the subject/genre?
I’m a sucker for good historical fiction, but I also know the author, as she is a former library colleague!

What other titles are on your bedside table /To Read Pile?

I must mention White Night by Ellie Marney, although I have actually just finished it!

I also very much want to read Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough next, as it has been on and off my TBR pile for some time.

How did you come by these titles: personal choice/request, publisher’s review copy, or other?
Ellie convenes an online YA book club I belong to on Facebook (have a look at #LoveOzYAbookclub). When I ran into her at Clunes Booktown Festival, I couldn’t resist getting a signed copy of her latest book. White Night is an excellent YA novel set in a country town, with some extremely likeable teen characters, plus mystery, romance and suspense right to the end.

Amelia Westlake has just won the Readings Young Adult Book Prize, and Erin Gough is an author I have enjoyed in the past.

Do you have a favourite genre? If so, what is it, and why do you prefer it?
I have always loved fantasy best, and will cope with a good dose of Sci Fi as well. I love the scope for speculation, imagining other worlds, alternative realities, and pondering the value of different societies. I discovered dystopian fiction in my teen years and could never get enough of it. In the YA context, I am fascinated by the way young protagonists are forced to rely on themselves completely, often for the first time in their lives.

Do you read from printed books or some other medium? Please expand a little on the why of your choice.
I still mostly read in print format, as I spend enough time in front of screens at work! But I will happily download a book onto my iPad if that is the fastest (or only) way to get hold of a book I am wanting to read at that moment. I find it can be a really convenient way to read, without having to find exactly the right angle to suit the lighting or weight in your hands, and no smoothing down of stiff binding, etc. But paper is still a very satisfying and tactile experience.